3 Easy DIY Projects that Increase Your Home Salability
The last thing some homeowners want is to attempt a DIY projects, yet when you are getting ready to sell your home there are some you handle/hire out because there are some DIY projects that increase your home salability. Read on to find out which projects you can do yourself and reap big benefits from.
Every homeowner knows the importance of sweat equity in increasing your home’s salability. Pick the right DIY project, and you can add significant value without investing a lot of money. On the other hand, you’ve no doubt heard other homeowners’ horror stories about DIY projects gone wrong. These can discourage many people on the verge of selling from undertaking improvement projects. The last thing you want is a costly mistake that drops your home’s value just as it hits the market.
Just before selling isn’t the time to undertake major home renovations. What you want are small projects that can give your home a quick boost, either in terms of its actual value or how it appears to buyers. Just a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning can go a long way, but there are other things you can do to quickly and easily improve your home’s salability.
Factors to consider: What makes a good DIY project?
- A finished DIY project can add significant value to your home. On the other hand, though, you might hurt your chances of making a sale if there’s a half-finished construction job in the home when prospective buyers come to see it. Consider how soon you plan to list your home, and how many hours you can realistically devote to home improvement in that amount of time.
- Skill level. Home improvement projects can be a great way to learn new skills—but right before you sell isn’t the time to experiment. Only choose projects you’re confident in your ability to complete well. Ideally, prospective buyers shouldn’t be able to pick out the DIY projects from the professional work as they walk through.
- Doing things yourself saves money over hiring professionals, but most projects will still require you to spend some money on materials and equipment. If you’re on a budget, look for projects you can do with the tools you already have—that will save you a lot in the expenses column.
- If you’re living in a home long-term, you can choose improvement projects based on your living preferences. Not everyone wants the same things out of a home, however. The best DIY projects leave prospective buyers room to customize the space. You want them to feel inspired by the home’s potential, not limited by its existing fixtures.
So what projects are ideal? Here are 3 DIY Projects that increase your home salability. These ideas will get your imagination working and improve the chances your home will sell quickly. All of these projects can be completed in a weekend, and don’t require any specialized skills or knowledge.
Home DIY Project 1: Make Your Home Smart.
Average budget: $500-$1,000
- Electric drill
- Basic tool set
- Smart thermostat ($100-$250). This is the centerpiece of any smart home, allowing full control over the heating and air conditioning. Many also provide energy monitoring services that home buyers find appealing. Look for one that works with both Google and Alexa voice control services to give the system more versatility.
- Smart lightbulbs ($10-$30/bulb). Phillips bulbs are the most well-known and versatile. They also come in convenient starter packs that will save you money in the long run. Stick with white bulbs rather than the multi-colored options—they’re cheaper, for one thing, and color-changing bulbs can turn some buyers off.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors ($40-$100/detector). Every home needs these for safety—and the smart versions don’t cost significantly more than their old-school counterparts. Use one carbon dioxide detector per floor, with smoke detectors in each bedroom.
It’s a lot cheaper and easier than it used to be to outfit a home with smart technology—and more and more buyers will be bringing a voice control system with them when they come. Providing a smart home framework can make your house especially appealing to millennials, who are the most active age group in the current real estate market, responsible for 36% of home purchases in 2018 according to the National Association of Realtors.
Consumer Reports says you can increase your home’s value by at least 3% just by updating to smart smoke detectors. Even better, you can get this boost in salability without doing any significant construction. That makes it one of the easiest projects on the list. Other smart upgrades you might consider include a video doorbell or smart locks for the doors, though these will require more tools and effort to install. Home going green projects do not have to be expensive to have a lasting effect!
How to do it:
- Remove your current thermostat cover. Not all can be upgraded easily to smart thermostats. If you see a wire marked with a C, W, R, Rh, Rc, or the word “common”, you should be good to go. A bundle of unlabeled wires likely means you’ll need an electrician’s help. You should also check the voltage of your HVAC system. Smart thermostats won’t work with a high voltage system (110v or 240v).
- Switch off power to your thermostat at your circuit breaker then remove the wires connected to your current thermostat. It’s often helpful to take a picture first that you can use as a reference when installing the new one.
- Follow the installation instructions in the new thermostat’s manual. Once the new thermostat is fully connected and firmly in place, turn the power back on at the circuit breaker.
- Program the thermostat using your smart phone to ensure it’s working correctly.
- Install the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Replace your current bulbs with smart bulbs. Smart lightbulbs screw in just like the old fashioned kind. The only tricky thing is to make sure you’re matching the wattage of the fixture. If you’re not sure, just check what kind of bulb was there before.
DIY Project 2: Turn a Hard to Sell Space into a High-Tech Home Theater/Game Room.
Average budget: $700-$1,500
- Electric drill
- Drywall saw
- Paint roller
- Basic tool set
- Measuring tape
- Projector paint ($50-$100). The great thing about projector paint is that it looks like plain white paint until you shine bright light on it—no bulky projector screen cluttering up the walls. It also cuts down on the amount of measuring and drilling you’ll need to do.
- Ceiling-mounted projector ($500-$1,500, see great options here) . A ceiling mount gives you more versatility as far as furniture placement. You can add seats for a home theater, or throw in some bean bags if it will be a child’s game room, and not worry about blocking the projector’s line of sight. This also makes it a permanent fixture even if you take the actual projector when you move.
- In-wall surround sound speakers ($100-$500). Surround speakers feel like a luxury item, but compared to other home improvement projects, they’re actually not too hefty of an investment. For smaller spaces, a 5-speaker system will be plenty. For larger rooms, a 7-speaker system gives you immersive sound without a huge bump in price.
Older homes often have rooms that are officially considered “bedrooms” but hard to sell confidently as such. A room that’s lacking windows and natural light is the perfect candidate for this project. It’s also
a great way to repurpose especially small or captive bedrooms. Built-in speakers and a ceiling-mounted projector add a professional feel to the improvements, and these kinds of unexpected fixtures will catch a buyer’s attention.
The biggest part of your budget in this project will be the projector itself, but that’s not something you necessarily have to leave behind when you move. If you plan to keep it, use a universal or adjustable ceiling mount so the new owner can more easily add their own.
How to do it:
- Choose which wall of the space will be the projector wall. Ideally this should be the furthest wall from any windows—the dimmer the space, the brighter the image will be. Use painter’s tape to mark off where you intend to put the screen.
- Measure out the correct distance for the projector to get the screen size you want. Install the ceiling mount following the directions in the product manual.
- Turn on the projector and align the image with the screen space you marked on the wall. Adjust as necessary, then paint the screen.
- Figure out where you’ll install the speakers. They should be at about ear-level when sitting, usually around 38-42 inches up the wall. Use the template included with your speakers to mark each one’s location, then cut it out with a drywall saw.
- Paint the speaker frames if you plan to do so. Mask all electronic components first, and use spray paint, not wall paint, to avoid speaker damage.
- Run the speaker wires through the wall then connect and install the speakers.
Do-It-Yourself Home Project 3: Put in a Flower Bed (or other low-maintenance landscaping).
Average budget: $200-$500
- Mulch or gravel ($30-$50/yard). Mulch and gravel not only look cleaner than dirt, they discourage other seeds from taking root. This means less time spent weeding to keep the flowers healthy and the bed looking beautiful.
- Decorative fence or border ($25-$100). This isn’t just for the aesthetic value. A fence will keep gravel or mulch from drifting out into the yard, and can also help to discourage pests from nibbling on your plants.
- Hearty perennial plants ($10-$30/plant). Perennials regrow year after year, as opposed to annuals, which have to be re-planted each spring. Look for plants that are well-suited to your climate—they’ll be easier to tend to, and more likely to thrive without a lot of fussing on your part. Some plants can also serve double-duty as deterrents to common household pests.
- Planter’s soil ($10-$30). Packaged soil contains fertilizers and nutrients that flowers need to grow. While many plants will grow perfectly well in plain dirt, specialized soil will usually give you healthier, better-looking plants.
The outside of your home is the first thing a prospective buyer sees. Increasing its curb appeal will have a big impact on the overall salability. Switching to lower-maintenance options has two advantages: it’s easier from the buyer’s perspective, and you won’t have to expend as much energy to keep it looking great, letting you focus your time elsewhere.
A flower bed isn’t your only option, either. If you live in the southwest United States, or anywhere with limited water resources, a rock garden or desert garden can be a great replacement for traditional greenery. This makes the home more eco-friendly, too, by cutting down on water waste. If you do want plants, you can use cacti and other succulents.
How to do it:
- Till up the area where you’ll be putting your flower bed or rock garden. Make sure you remove the roots of any existing weeds.
- Space out your plants according to the recommendation on the label, then use your spade to dig each hole.
- Remove each plant from the container it came in and gently loosen the packed dirt from the roots—this will make it easier for it to take hold in the new soil. Place the plant in its hole and fill in around it with the planter’s soil, covering the roots fully.
- Install your fence or decorative border.
- Fill in around the plants with mulch or gravel. Make the layer thick enough it covers all visible dirt. Smooth it out with the spade for the best appearance.
Final Tips on DIY Projects that Increase Your Home Salability
You’ll only get one chance to make an impression on potential buyers, and you want to make the most of it. Here are a few final tips on making sure your DIY projects increase your home’s value, rather than detracting from it.
- Finish what you start. This includes cleaning up after yourself. If you’ve drilled or cut into the wall, make sure to sweep the floors underneath it
- Appeal to all the senses. Looks aren’t everything. Unpleasant odors can turn off a potential buyer—especially musty odors that could hint at dampness or other potential problems in the house. Keeping everything clean is the best way to prevent odors. You can use air fresheners or potted flowers and herbs to replace those bad smells with pleasant ones.
- Brighten and lighten. A lighter, brighter space looks larger than one that’s dark and drab. Clean all your windows, inside and out, to make sure you’re making the most of the natural light they provide. If the walls seem dull or dark, consider a fresh coat of paint—you may be surprised how much it transforms the space. Consider the lighting, as well. Replacing old bulbs in dark rooms with more efficient LED models can really help make the space more appealing.
DIY Project Sites
As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to spruce up your home before you sell it. Hopefully these project ideas have inspired you to undertake your own DIY upgrades! Here are a few resources you can check out to gain inspiration and insight.
No matter what project you’re taking on, whether it be a minor household fix-it issue or an entire home renovation, the DIY Network has an arsenal of information to help you. It has wide, comprehensive catalogs of DIY instruction and information in the categories of painting, windows and doors, floors, decorating, remodeling, electrical, plumbing, bath, kitchen, outdoors, and rooms. There’s nothing that’s not covered. All the advice is offered from professionals, and there are hundreds of DIY how-to videos that show you exactly how to complete the projects you’re taking on. Also offered are tons of tips and articles on how to save money and ideas for cool new projects.
This is another comprehensive website where you can find articles and videos to help you with DIY home improvement. There are active forums where you can discuss projects with other amateurs and professionals alike. In the shopping section, you’ll find price comparisons and reviews to help you get the best deal on the things you need to complete your endeavors. Join the Did It Myself community, and when you’re finished you can show off your work.
If you want advice from “The Dean of Home Renovation and Repair Advice,” check out Bob Vila’s website. The famous home improvement guru has a very helpful website that can assist you in DIY projects all around the house. From appliances to floors to outdoors, there are advice articles, forums, and videos to help you out. There are product comparisons, and a link to find a contractor near you, just in case you find that your DIY project needs a little professional help.
As always, here are additional DIY project resources to give you additional perspective as you decide which do-it-yourself projects are the right fit for your home, budget, and DIY comfort level.
Additional Do-It-Yourself Resources
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